The Arizona Wildcats (14-14, 4-12) went to Corvallis expecting to play an early afternoon match on Sunday. Someone didn’t check their schedule, and a conflict at Gill Coliseum led the match to being rescheduled for 10 a.m. MST.
They didn’t let it derail them as the Wildcats put together a sweep of the Oregon schools with a 3-2 (25-20, 20-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12) victory over Oregon State (9-18, 3-13).
Arizona was led by Paige Whipple with 22 kills. The junior added 20 digs and five blocks. Not far behind was fellow junior Katie Smoot with 19 kills on .321 hitting.
The Wildcats have languished near the bottom of the conference in blocks due to their size disadvantage. They didn’t fall behind against the Beavers, though. Zyonna Fellows led the match with seven blocks, two of them solo.
Fellows was followed by Whipple and Devyn Cross with five blocks each. Julia Patterson had four. As a team, Arizona had 13 total blocks.
Patterson once again had a double-double with 48 assists and 13 digs. She added five kills to go with her four blocks.
In a match that featured several long rallies over the five sets, several Wildcats broke 20 digs. Returning to her libero position for the second straight match, Kamaile Hiapo had 29. Makenna Martin, who has taken Hiapo’s position as makeshift outside hitter, added 20 to match Whipple’s mark.
The match opened with an extremely close first set. Each team had a couple of three-point runs, but they mostly just traded points. Arizona finally took control at 20-20, putting together five straight points to take the set.
It was almost a flawless set for the Wildcats, who made just one attack error on 42 swings. The team hit .357 in winning the opening frame.
The second set wasn’t as smooth for Arizona. Oregon State built an 11-4 lead before the Wildcats responded with four straight to cut the lead to three.
The Wildcats couldn’t keep the Beavers under control, though. Every time they closed things, the home team would go on another run and stretch the lead back out. Oregon State eventually leveled the match with a 25-20 victory in the second.
Things got tight again in the third until 11-all. The Wildcats went on a 6-1 run to open up a 17-12 lead. Oregon State closed it late, taking the one-point lead at 21-20 after winning a challenge. Arizona responded with just enough to take the 2-1 lead at 25-23.
As was suitable for such a back-and-forth match, the Beavers came back to take the fourth set. In Tucson, they were able to use the short fifth to their advantage and come out victorious.
It didn’t work out the same in Corvallis, as the Wildcats last trailed at 2-3 in the set. From the final tie at 9-all, Arizona used a 6-3 advantage to take the final set and the victory.
The Wildcats return home for the their final two weekends of play. They will host the Washington schools next week with the Huskies up first on Friday at 7 p.m.